There are any number of ways you can market your photography business: online profiles with paid and unpaid services, or social media advertisements. You could even go old school and try a radio ad or billboard. But we’re firm believers that one of the best ways to spread your good name is by good old-fashioned word of mouth. Because it works.
As wedding photographers, we rely heavily upon referrals. And we love connecting with wedding planners and wedding venues, in particular. Between a planner, a venue, and a photographer, a couple looking to get married is definitely going to book one of those three vendors first, and, subsequently, establish that vendor as their initial point of contact. From there, the couple will ask for referrals for other vendors.
When you connect with other professionals in your chosen field of photography, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Here are five simple strategies to help you make those valuable connections:
You can certainly meet people online, but even our friends who have found their true loves via online dating services had to meet for a face-to-face eventually. At some point, you’re going to have to be brave and go out and talk to people. It’ll be quite fun; we promise! A bit of social media leg work should get you in the know, and some solid hustle could find you hitting up your local photography equipment shop, print lab, or bridal boutique.
Ask around. There will be plenty of weekly events from which you can choose. You simply need to take the time to go.
Social media can be an extraordinary waste of time or a fantastic tool to propel your business to the next level. We prefer the latter. Simply searching Facebook for “[insert name of city or state] photography or photography group” should send you in the proper direction and get you started with connecting with other professionals online.
Connecting with a community of photographers online can help you in myriad ways. You’ll not only have access to experienced second shooters and be up to date on local photographer hangouts, but you’ll also have plenty of people to tell you about the vendors to connect with and the ones that might best fit your style of photography.
We like to give other vendors a business card. People still use those? Yep. But you’re going to want to make sure they look gorgeous and have a unique edge so that they’re less likely to end up in the trash.
Peruse Pinterest for fresh and fabulous ideas or see what is hot at Design Aglow Print for instant professional design and print gratification.
Showing off your finished products is also key. Sure, you could pull up your Instagram page and present some of your best images and you could even take out your tablet so you have an expanded screen size. But, again, we want to be a bit more memorable. To that end, we always display our best images as framed wall art and in luxe keepsake albums.
Since we’re fans of finished art, we talk about it a lot and show it on our website. Displaying gorgeous products will take your presentation to the next level. Show jpgs, sell jpgs. Show finished art….and watch your image (and sales) soar!
We’ve found that the couples who book us love our images but also take a personal interest in us as humans. And it’s the same with vendors. If we’re at an open house or any kind of social gathering for wedding industry professionals, it can be crowded and our ability to make a connection can be tough.
Our plan is to show our art, give a card or brochure, and share a personal anecdote. We want the vendor to remember us when we send a follow-up note, but we also want to remember something about the vendor to make that personal connection in our follow-up contact. We’ll send an email the next day saying, for example, “It was so great chatting the other night at the open house. We look forward to seeing you next month at the Jacobson wedding!” And if the vendor is high value (a venue we really want to shoot a wedding at but haven’t yet had the opportunity), we’ll do our best to set up a time to chat more extensively and or in our follow-up email for sure.
We have no doubt that you’ll find word of mouth THE most valuable means of getting future leads and booked clients. You’ll definitely want to connect with our industry professionals so that you can trade leads, get your name out there, and possibly establish some solid, lasting relationships.
What tips do you have for connecting with other vendors in your preferred area of photography? We’d love for you to join in the conversation!
Amii & Andy (Sunshine & Reign Photography) are destination wedding photographers based in Arizona. Their images and articles have been featured in notable blogs and print magazines, and they’re also authors at SLR Lounge. They love being married to each other, they have 5 kids, and when they aren’t shooting weddings, Amii & Andy are usually either working out in their garage, practicing archery, or planning their next road trip. Their goal is to document love in the most epic way. To see more of Amii & Andy's work, visit them here.